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Slash help for poor to keep costs down: NUS

National Union of Students leaders proposed a cut in support for poorer undergraduates as well as reductions in university teaching in a bid to stave off higher tuition fees, it has emerged.

In private emails to Business Secretary Vince Cable's office, which emerged last night, NUS president Aaron Porter and political officer Graeme Wise set out a model for maintaining fees at their current level.

This would have involved an £800m cut in maintenance grants and a £2.4bn reduction in teaching support from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

And they proposed slicing £300m from HEFCE's funding for research and £700m from the budgets of the research councils.

Maintenance grants are worth up to £2,906 a year for full-time higher education students from households with an income of £25,000 or under.

Mr Porter said: “We were asked by Dr Cable to demonstrate how fees could be kept at current levels and on the basis of his request we produced modelling to show how that could be done.”

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